Made with Ink scape
A study has tried to show how hidden CIA operations in Pakistan and anti-vaccine movements may be affecting covid vaccination.
What the study was able to find was a decreased vaccination rate in areas with a strong Islamic view when compared with other areas in Pakistan. The decrease was between 23-39%.
In this study done in Pakistan, the effect of controversial information was found to be an issue affecting the medical community's activities and vaccination particularly. If this is dealt with it might increase the acceptance of covid vaccination.
According to the World Health Organisation, between 4-5 million people die every year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, polio, and whooping cough. Pakistan is said to be one of the countries where polio is still prevalent. The other countries that still battle with polio are Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Chad.
The World Health Organisation believes that if covid vaccination is done properly 1.5 million people will be saved. If more areas are covered this could be a possibility.
Even though much has been done to make the side-effects such as fever, tiredness, headaches muscle pain, pains where the injection was given, chills, and diarrhea common knowledge.
The general public has been told of the safety after so many studies. The efficacy of the vaccines has also been known to be vaccine dependant.
There is still an air of distrust that is making people not take the vaccine. This is usually called vaccine hesitancy in the medical community. This is partly because information on the vaccine is easily ignored especially when there is a preset of doubt in the medical community.
Vaccine hesitancy has been identified by WHO as a threat to global health. The reasons for vaccine hesitance range from flat-out distrust to having problems getting the vaccine.
There are many Anti-vaccine groups around the world, even in the United States and Europe where the literacy rates are higher. I know of some in Nigeria, @sunnychukwu wrote about the two main groups in his post. There are those in Afghanistan and many other countries. As Hala Iqbal from vox explained, it might be a common issue with communities of color.
One school of thought is that medicalized violence might play a role in making people skeptical of the vaccine. For example, In Tusgakgee, black men were used to develop the treatment of resistant syphilis, and J. Marion Sims (labeled father of gynecology) would perform surgeries on black women without anesthesia.
A Pakistani scientist anonymously told Vox during first-person essays (a segment of the media outlet) about the fact that the people in Pakistan received information about a CIA operation that took place in 2011, where free Hepatitis vaccines were given to children in areas where the CIA believe they could find Osama Bin Laden.
She talked about health workers who were colored who expressed skepticism about taking the vaccine and were not buying what has been said by pharmaceuticals such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer/Biontech.
The cause of the controversy
According to the story, samples were taken from the children to find a genetic match with that of Osama Bin Laden's DNA.
After the story got out about the operations of the CIA, Pakistani community leaders started actively going against vaccination
The anti-vaccine movement believes that polio vaccination is devised to make the Muslim community sterile and they think that those who are giving the vaccines are not actual health workers but CIA.
They have also said that the vaccines have pig fat in it (which is forbidden by the Muslim religion). This is what is being said in their places of worship, radio stations, and other media outlets.
In July 2012 the Taliban stopped all vaccination campaigns. They have also taken to violence, killing up to 70 people including health workers. Just last December Vox reports that as many as 95 health workers were killed when trying to increase polio vaccine coverage in Pakistan.
The effects of all this controversy still need to be studied because of its potential to affect the health of the world.
This is why the recent study done in Pakistan was very important.
After examining the findings in the Pakistani Social and Living standards Measurement (put together by Pakistan's Bureau of Statistics), the researchers published their findings in the Journal of European Economic Association. The study looked at 97% of the children in the population.
Vaccination card records were used to clarify data of 18,795 babies between birth and 2 years of age who had a vaccination for polio, diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus, and measles between January 2010 and July 2012.
In the study, data from the election in 2008 (the last election before the populace got informed about the CIA's operation) was gathered. This data was used to check for the spread of the support for the conservative Islamic Party MMA.
The objectives of the study were to try and understand the relationship between exposure to information on the CIA operation and areas with support for the conservative Islamic ideology.
Findings of the study
What the study found was this decrease in vaccination rate especially in areas where support for Islamic parties was high. The decrease was between 23-39% when compared to areas without this support and therefore less likely to have negative thoughts towards vaccination.
They also found differences in gender in these areas. Boys were seen to have a 3% reduction in vaccination rate.
The difference between the areas with the highest support for the Islamic party and the lowest support for the Islamic party was so marked that the area with the highest support had twice as many polio cases as the area with the least support for the party.
The study showed statistically significant data, however, some factors could have acted as confounders in the study such as reduced vaccine supply or unreported vaccinations.
The Medical News Today team spoke with Dr. Andreas Stegmann an assistant professor at the University of Warwick, UK Department of Economics who spoke about the limitations of the study.
The study's strength is the data gathered on the children's age and the status of those who were immunized. This has allowed the researchers to be able to gloss over past experiences and different locations. He made it clear that the limitation may be the fact that these ideologies might have existed before the information that caused the propaganda happened. If this is true he explains that the data gotten will only detect these preexisting ideologies.
He explained further that the main reason for the reduction in vaccination being distrust for health workers could be debated from other angles.
What the study on a final note suggested was an anti-vaccination campaign that was causing a lack of trust in health workers. The thought is that this could lead to an increase in vaccine-preventable diseases.
This is a very important issue today, where we are trying to achieve immunity globally from the deadly coronavirus and factors affecting vaccination slow down our return to a normal state of living.
With cases of covid not being dealt with in Pakistan and the views about vaccination still the way it has been from the past, will the medical community be able to fix this distrust that is bringing about vaccine hesitancy?
With the distrust that exists in the colored community due to medicalized violence, will amends be made? Or will the onus be on the shoulders of colored medical personnel having to carry their communities and families along?
What can be done to treat the disease that is "distrust" so that the world can be treated? What is the World Health Organisation planning to do? Are the United Nation and major nonprofit organizations such as UNICEF going to get involved?
Will countries that have not addressed vaccine hesitancy be left behind?
As the days go by I will be waiting for these answers and I am sure you will be too.
Stay safe for yourself and those who love you.
In this post, I was also hoping to introduce a new #stemsocial logo that I took out time to make.
Recently a lot of my colleagues have been posting on stemsocial and I wanted to recognize them.
I'm also making @hive-19687 a beneficiary to this post.
Made with Ink scape
So this is really two posts in one. I also do graphic designs on the side in addition to being a Doctor.
Let me know what you think about both.
Book a Fiverr gig with me here.